Earlier this week, King Mohammed VI of Morocco donated 30,000 euros (about £24,000) towards the construction of the Al-Ihsane mosque in Amsterdam New-West.
On its website, the mosque has revealed that the generous donation was unexpected, calling the King “a great honour of a person with a big heart”.
The Al-Ihsane mosque is located in Geuzenveld, or Garden City, a suburban residential area in Amsterdam. Once it is complete, the structure will cover 1,600 square meters, and stand at over 35 feet high, with a rooftop terrace for visitors. The religious building was designed by architect Gerard Rijnsdorp. Since it has no minaret and dome, it follows the lines of the other buildings in the neighbourhood.
The mosque still requires around 600,000 euros in order to cover the cost of construction. Members of the Islamic community in Amsterdam are getting involved in the fund raising efforts by organising donation drives.
Last Friday, King Mohammed embarked on a private visit to the Netherlands. This is the King’s first visit to the country, and he was warmly received by the members of the Moroccan diaspora living in Amsterdam. Hundreds of fans gathered around the hotel, and the King good-naturedly agreed to take photos with them.
Although the reasons for his visit are unknown, it is believed that the monarch is there to meet with Dutch politicians to discuss the imminent benefits treaty with Morocco. If an agreement is not reached, the Dutch Senate has agreed to stop paying new Dutch benefits to people living in Morocco. The royal visit is expected to end next Wednesday.
King Mohammed VI is well known for his support for Islamic communities all over the world. In the past, he has established institutes dedicated to the training of imaams (Muslim leaders), the building of mosques in various parts of Africa, and other building initiatives. He has also been instrumental in bringing about more political power and equal rights for women in Morocco, and his wife, Princess Lalla Salma, is the first wife of a Moroccon ruler to be publicly acknowledged.